You can't win if you don't play — seven words where the action centers on “win” and “play.” It doesn't matter if we're talking sports, the lottery, or an industry awards program. The fact is, everybody wants to be a winner. To win is to separate yourself from the crowd, to be successful, to matter.

Play, on the the other hand, is different in this context. You want to win? Play hard. Be aggressive. Be smart.

The good news is that for the engineering community serving the commercial HVAC marketplace, there are now two new awards programs that, by entering, could give you an opportunity to differentiate your company from your competitors and help build a strong reputation for your firm among your peers and customers. And I'm pleased to tell you that HPAC Engineering magazine is the sponsor of both of these awards programs.

The newest one is what we call the HPAC Engineering Design Awards.

These awards are designed to honor outstanding examples of innovative HVAC building technologies being applied in commercial, industrial, and institutional new construction and retrofit applications. Design engineers will be recognized for their work to create systems that are energy efficient, provide outstanding comfort and indoor air quality, and offer the most advanced yet easy to use controls systems.

We invite you to enter the program with projects that show energy efficiency or cost savings and highlight the certifications (such as LEED) the building has earned or is pursuing. We'd like you to describe how you decided on the design and how it addressed the unique needs of the client.

You can learn more about how to enter and where to send submittals by downloading the criteria here: bit.ly/yEEOj0.

Deadline for entries is May 1, 2012. Please contact Scott Arnold, executive editor by phone at (216) 931-9980, or email him at scott.arnold@penton.com. You can also contact Ron Rajecki, senior editor, at (216) 931-9752, or email him at ron.rajecki@penton.com.

So what's in it for you? Winning projects will be showcased in a future issue of HPAC Engineering, providing national attention.

This gives winners a certain amount of bragging rights, but most importantly it provides peer recognition that can be used to promote your company and services to clients for years to come.

We've been running similar awards programs in sister magazine Contracting Business.com for many years, and winners have used the recognition in all their marketing, on their business cards, letterhead, websites and more.

In addition, the winning entries showcase the best of what this industry has to offer and provide an example for other engineering firms to learn from. It is a perfect platform for showcasing excellence in the mechanical systems engineering community.

These benefits apply to the winners of not only the HPAC Engineering Design Awards contest, but also our annual Engineer of the Year program (bit.ly/WetzelEofY). To enter this contest, download criteria (bit.ly/zvbfs7) and application (bit.ly/eofy2012).

Entering is by no means a guarantee of winning, but it does give props and recognition to your people for their hard work. I know we're all busy, but this is an opportunity that can pay off for you for years to come.

As the title says, you can't win if you don't play. So come on into the game. You'll be glad you did.

I look forward to seeing your entries.

Send comments and suggestions to mike.weil@penton.com.